In this post I will show you how to create a report design using Microsoft PowerPoint to use in your Power BI reports.
Having beautiful reports are so simple. I am not a UI or UX expert, I have done some minor training in it, but I’m not by any means an expert. My experience in creating reports that navigate seamlessly and look beautiful as well as provide insights are what lead me to write this blog. Who says you have to use plain white backgrounds and only be able to navigate using the bottom tabs, I say no to that, Power BI developers made it possible for us to choose how you would like your report to look, so embrace it.
Get your data story in order
The data and the insights are the most important, and once you’ve decided on what the story is you want to tell with the data, you can plan your report design. Much like anything else you want to design, get some ideas together. If you have free reign with a report, it can be lots of fun.
Decide on a theme
Google some themes and get a mood board together. This does not have to only be ideas of other existing reports, but colour themes, web page navigation, and anything that looks appealing to you, even art work can be inspiring.
You can then go to google and search anything that you think will give you inspiration for your report design.
These were my inspirational pics.
From your search choose the ones you like and snip the picture and add them to your inspirational “mood board” in PowerPoint. Please note that I do not use exact designs, rather draw inspiration from them.
Create a colour palette for your report design
Use the PowerPoint eyedropper function to get the correct colours you want. Retrieve the RGB (colour code) under the “More fill colors” option in the Format tab. To retrieve hex codes, simply google “RGB to HEX”, and put in the numbers to get the converted code.
Use your colours to generate a palette by using one of the free online tools available. They will help with complementary or even contrasting colours. I mostly use websites like https://icolorpalette.com/ and http://paletton.com/ to create a palette.
Then you use your 8 main colours to customise the theme in Power BI. Power BI developers have put in a lot of work in the customisation of themes and this is very helpful with report design. If you are looking to use this colour palette again in the future, remember to export / save the theme. Also note that the themes can further be customised with fonts, border and fill options for visual. See the here for more details on theme customisation.
Great, you’ve got your colours ready for use. Now we can move to the background design.
Create backgrounds in PowerPoint to enhance you report design
Benefits of doing a background design in Power Point
- I choose PowerPoint because you have many different shape options. Although Power BI has shapes available and are very useful, when it comes to large shapes that reside behind your visuals, they sometimes cause issues if a user were to click on them instead of the visual, making the visual inaccessible until they first click somewhere else.
- PowerPoint also allows more freedom in positioning of shapes etc.
- The internet has many free downloadable PowerPoint templates where you have the use of pictures, icons, and shapes that you don’t normally have available. https://slidesgo.com/ is by far my favourite, they offer free templates jam-packed with many options.
Once you are happy with your design in PowerPoint. All you have to do is save your slide that you will use in your report design as a PNG file. By using the “Save As” option in your menu, and then choosing PNG as the type.
Then you simply add it to you Power BI background.
This is the before and after of a report.
After background, colour theme and some small cosmetic changes are added.
We can add some navigation tabs on these backgrounds, below some design options.
Your tabs on the PowerPoint slide will look like this:
You will just add buttons layered over the background tabs for the navigation action on the Power BI Desktop side, then using either the navigation action or bookmarks. I will advise to do button text for page names, and not add the text in PowerPoint.
For extra effect, change the font type and size on the button text to be different on the hover setting.
Using PowerPoint to create backgrounds that contains the company logo is another way to declutter your report of extra shapes.
Another option is creating a landing page to navigate to your report pages.
Be creative in your reports, keeping in mind that the focus should always remain on the insights of the data. Giving your user as hassle free navigation option that is functional and appealing to the eye can make a big difference in their experience while exploring your report. Enjoy creating beautiful reports.
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